Please complete your personal statement as part of your Assessment Tasks
Name of Qualification
Level 3 Teaching Assistant QCF with S.E.N.
Date of Birth 21-02-1975
Why this course (500 words)
I have been working as T.A. in a Special Needs School for 4 years, I was recently made redundant due to funding cuts, however I am trying to apply to various TA jobs around the county.
I am often asked if I hold a level 3 qualification as an S.E.N. Teaching Assistant. This seems to be my hurdle in order to be accepted for jobs.
I certainly feel I have the practical skills needed however I do not hold the new legislations, teaching and safeguarding acts that are compulsory.
I have a wonderful Autistic daughter with severe learning difficulties that has given me many years of knowledge with the whole Statement process from a parent’s point of view and the challenges we face on a day to day basis in the home and in schools.
I am hoping this course will open many doors for me in S.E.N. sector.
September 2013- September 2017 St Francis Special School, Lincoln.
September 2017- December 2017 Personal Assistant to 2 Autistic Children
Level of Education
7 G.C.S.E. passes taken at St Wyburn Private School, Southport.
BTEC First National Diploma in Art and Textiles, Weybridge, Surrey.
BTEC National Diploma in Fashion Design and Marketing, Bournemouth University.
BTEC Higher National Diploma in Fashion Design and Marketing, Bournemouth University.
IT Skill Level
Microsoft Word, Office XL, Powerpoint.
Please write in your own words about your experience, likes, dislikes and your career aspirations
I have been caring for my disabled daughter for over 17 years, Jessica was born with a rare brain disorder resulting in severe learning difficulties and Autism as well as many complex medical needs.
We have come across many hurdles during her life through hospitals and the education system, from her first Educational Statement in mainstream school to where she is now a Special School setting with an I.E.P. and an E.H.C.P.
This has given me a huge insight into the process required to succeed as a good S.E.N. Teaching Assistant.
I am confident with Makaton sign along which I use at home with Jessica which has proved invaluable for her speech progression.
I have now enrolled onto the QCF level 3 T.A. course, after applying for many posts within local schools, it is usually a strong requirement of theirs.
I am keen to work as a 1:1 in a mainstream setting or as a S.E.N. Teaching assistant higher level, and would love to apply my experience and passion in this area of Education.
I dislike discrimination of any kind and believe everybody should be given a fair chance of any career or life they wish to choose.
UNIT 1 – ASSESSMENT TASKS
COMMUNICATION AND PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH CHILDREN, YOUNG PEOPLE AND ADULTS
Outcomes 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 – By the end of these outcomes, you will be able to understand the principles of developing positive relationships with children, young people and adults.
1.1 Explain why effective communication is important in developing positive relationships with children, young people and adults (300 words approx)
Effective Communication is important to ensure trust, reliability and continuity between all persons involved in the Education setting.
In order to create a good learning atmosphere the trust must be built between students and Teaching staff to promote approachability, part of this trust must include empathy from the teaching staff on matters and issues that may arise from students.
Age appropriate understanding is essential, good body language skills remaining open and warm with good eye contact depending on certain cultures of course.
For example with a small child kneeling down to their level so as not to talk above or intimidate, a young person or Adult you could sit next to them with a chair and remain relaxed, forward facing. Be prepared to listen and engage. I feel empathy is key.
Getting to know the certain individuals needs and background as well as home and family situations so as to be sympathetic to their needs.
To have a warm and caring manner is imperative and excellent listening skills, allowing the child, young person or adult time to talk. Not interrupt or feel the need to talk over them. Offering extra time after lessons if needed to evaluate and engage with each student.
1.2 Explain the principles of relationship building with children, young people and adults
(250 words approx)
We as Teachers and Teaching Assistants are role models and people these children, young persons and adults want to confide in and look up to. Therefore it is important to be friendly, warm and approachable but at the same time setting clear boundaries of respect in order for them to not cross the line into casual learning as once you have given them that opportunity it is hard to get the individual to engage and learn respect. This will impact how much they learn.
Our own behaviour impacts that of the student, if we do not remain consistent as Teaching staff they can become confused and possibly disruptive especially if that person has additional needs or learning disabilities.
Taking a good amount of time to get to know the individual as a whole, their likes, dislikes, medical needs, aspirations for the future, friendship groups and hobbies in order to understand them fully. Be empathetic towards the student as this builds on the trust.
Praise the person at every opportunity and be sensitive to their needs if you need to make a constructive comment. Using praise shows them that to reward and encourage has positive effects and can help them in their future life.
It is important not to show stress if you are having a bad day or week as this can be mimicked by the child, young person or adult and creates a bad atmosphere for all involved.
We need to be considerate and show mutual respect and allow plenty of time and the opportunity to listen and engage.
1.3 Explain how different social, professional and cultural contexts may affect relationships and the way people communicate (300 words approx)
The age of the individual will have different levels of attention and learning abilities than that of an older child or adult.
A younger child will need time to settle into their new surrounding and will most probably require lots of support and extra reassurance to adjust in the new setting. We as staff can encourage this adjustment faze by helping and encouraging them to build new friendships. We need to make sure we are at their eye level and use simple worded instructions when communicating with them. Sometimes picture exchange boards can be used and or Makaton sign along to reinforce simple instructions. Praise and positive reinforcement is extremely important.
With older children they will still require lots of positive praise in order to develop their social skills. We will need to give older children time to talk and express their views, it is vital that they can see you engaging and showing a general interest in what they are saying.
An older child needs to understand boundaries and we must be careful not to be too familiar towards them as it is hard to come back from a relationship that has crossed from teacher to friend.
The context of communication needs to be changed according to whichever situation we find ourselves in with children, young persons or adults. If we are working in a class room the tone maybe more formal and professional, where as for instance on a school trip or the playground we may be more relaxed and friendly whilst still enforcing respect.
If the particular person has cultural differences it is essential to for us to research their culture and show an interest and understand from their perspective the requirements they need us as a class to respect in order to promote good understanding of their expectations, thus educating the class and school as a whole. Perhaps holding an assembly if the student is happy with this including permission from the parents or carers. We should also remember that different cultures will have their own norms of behaviour which may extend to gestures, body language and eye contact.
A child, young person or adult may have communication difficulties, we as staff have to show patience and allow the student time to express their needs. A person may have a stutter so allowing them to feel comfortable and not to try to talk for them will ease an already anxious child.
For a person with speech and language difficulties using a picture exchange tool is extremely helpful used alongside other forms of communication such as Makaton can be very helpful and can bring on speech further. The school should be up to date on all levels on communication aids working with Speech therapists where necessary to help that individual.
Outcomes 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5 – By the end of these outcomes you will understand how to communicate with children, young people and adults.
2.1 Explain the skills needed to communicate with children and young people (250 words approx)
Good communication is central to working with children and young people.
The skills needed to communicate are to establish a rapport and build a respectful, honest, warm and supportive relationship, which in turn will make them feel valued and important and encourages them to seek advice and use services.
The age of the child or young person will require various levels of attention and requirements than that of an older child, younger children starting a setting will require lots of support and reassurance in order for them to adjust to their new environment. We can help by introducing them to peers, and to remain at their level with good eye contact when communicating.
An older child will still need reassurance but our approach may be slightly firmer allowing them time to express their personalities whilst teaching them about respect and giving them individual responsibilities to grow confidence.
We need to be sensitive to those who have troubled personal circumstances at home and be tactful in our approach to allow them to open up and be able to talk freely by giving them the opportunity to approach you at any time. Giving time and show empathy and sincerity and above all listen and take into account culture and context.
Clear precise language is key, and for those with language and communication barriers repeating the words can sometimes be needed and asking them if there is anything they did not understand and perhaps giving them a chance to respond by asking them what they thought about the lesson or conversation. Makaton is a simple form of sign language, which uses signs and symbols as well as pictures. These methods can encourage delayed speech by instilling the confidence to talk.
For children with communication difficulties as well as being patient and understanding resources such as PECS, Picture Exchange communication system is an extremely useful tool used widely which is an alternative form of communication that uses pictures instead of words.
To be able to adapt styles of communication to the needs and abilities of the child or young person through perhaps play, role play or communications aids if appropriate. Speech therapists and Occupational therapists can be introduced in school to help build communication.
Children may have sensory impairment, it is important for staff to explore activities and lessons to combine sensory, communication and literacy skills, to understand the role of sensory experiences for children with visual and multiple impairments. For staff to maximise effective skill development and use of available materials with a series of learning activities.
Effective communication extends to involving the parents and carers the design and delivery of services and decisions that affect them. It is important to consider opinions and perspectives from the onset.
Not only is it crucial to develop trust between young people but to extend that to your workforce and parents and carers, as people become more engaged when relationships are continuous, and their lives improve as a result.
2.2 Explain how to adapt communication with children and young people for: (500 words approx)
The age of the child or young person
Communications with children or young people will be different based on their age, for instance it would not be appropriate to speak to a 3 or 4 year old in the same way as a 13 year old. It is important to adjust our vocabulary so that the child understood what was being said. A younger child who is new to the setting may need lots of reassurance so we must ensure we are always approachable. Although touch should be kept to a minimum sometimes they may just want to stand next to you in the playground or have your hand to hold.
An older child may need assistance to help talk through problems or worries. We should be mindful about the information they present to us as we listen. Building this positive relationship between older children is just as important as the younger child as all interactions should be seen as positive.
The context of the communication
When in a school setting we may well be working in different situations and some maybe more formal than others so we should adapt accordingly.
If we are working on a focused task or learning activity we should ensure all learners are engaged in their work and with any potential problems before they cause disruption. For example a music lesson may be going on next door and even if we can achieve a 70% learning outcome during the lesson it is still a positive. Or perhaps we may have to diffuse a disruptive pupil by explaining to take the issue after class or having to temporarily remove a pupil whilst the lesson continues.
We should be friendly in our approach to teaching speaking clearly and precisely being mindful that we are role models to the young person. However at times we can interact differently such as playtimes and school social gatherings where we can show our humorous playful side. This can give the young person an opportunity to see a different a welcome side whilst still maintaining a good positive and respectful relationship
( must include language, sensory impairment, speech language or communication impairment, cognitive abilities, emotional state and cultural differences)
We should ensure that children with Special Educational Needs or speech and language
difficulties are treated with care and a sensitive nature.
We need to adapt the way in which we communicate with these children according to their individual needs, and where necessary follow closely their E.H.C.P.
Children should feel unpressured when talking and be given ample time to get their point across. They maybe anxious or nervous when speaking to adults or in a class situation and maybe aware of other pears listening, as they may not communicate in the same way as others. This can often lead to the child being more unconfident and refraining from in school activities.
It is important we do not try to fill in their words or speak for them as this can lead to more distress if the child feels they cannot be heard correctly. Presuming to know what is trying to be said is unfair.
It is a far better strategy to be honest and say you don’t understand. There are strategies that can be used to help the child or young person communicate more effectively such as Makaton or using a picture exchange book (PECS) Extra training through S.E.N. courses will ensure the person has the best possible chance.
Cultural differences are playing more of a part than ever before so educating yourself as a teacher and those around you is extremely important so as to recognise and support the child, there may be certain cultures where eye contact is forbidden so giving the correct information to pupils and staff should be implemented.
2.3 Explain the main differences between communicating with adults and communicating with children and young people (250 words approx)
When communicating with adults we have to pay attention to any aspects that might cause difficulty for them in expressing themselves or comprehending what is being said. Problems can arise when a family is from a different cultural background and have different forms of communications and what is deemed to be acceptable grammar. Speaking clearly, calmly and giving the adult time to talk and respond is essential. We must value all contributions negative or positive. We maybe talking with a parent or carer so it is important to use eye contact where appropriate and use a good handshake to let them know you are willing to listen, no folding of arms or poor body language as they will see you as a person of trust. After all you are the caregiver of their child or young person.
It maybe that you cannot answer a question they have and to ensure them that you will direct them to head of year. We have to be mindful that nobody knows their child as well as that of the parent or carer so respecting their views is of utmost importance.
If you need to communicate with other adults who do not use English as their first language you may need to have a translator and meet together.
Communication between members of teaching staff has to be effective and to work together as a good strong team player to ensure the safety and welfare of the pupils.
Conflicts or gossiping should be resolved out of school hours in a sensible and tactful manner. Students are very sensitive to poor atmospheres and this can inhibit their learning environment.
When communicating with children and young people we have to be aware of their age and current level of communication skills. Children learn to communicate through the responses of others. It has to be clear what kind of communication we can expect from a child of a certain age.
Make sure that you show an interest by the way you are speaking to the pupils, do not look away as this gives the impression you are not interested in their input, this can impact on their confidence. For a preschool child we will have to use one word instructions or simplified sentences in a precise manner, getting down to their level as towering over them can very intimidating. Also to smile and react in a positive way.
Older children who can already form and understand correct sentences and grammar can benefit from a more complex conversation quite close to that of an adult remembering that we are role models to them so appropriate language must be used. Constant checking of understanding is ensures the child or young person is receiving the correct level of communication.
Encourage them to ask questions and put their ideas forward. They should also feel confident enough to offer their own suggestions and ideas so there is a two-way dialogue between adults and pupils rather than a one way flow of instructions. This also encourages the formation of positive relationships.
2.4 Explain how to adapt communication to meet different communication needs of adults (250 words approx)
When communicating with other adults we have to pay special attention to any aspects that may cause difficulty for them in expressing themselves or understanding what is being said.
Problems can arise when a person is from different cultural backgrounds or has language or speech difficulties. Speaking clearly and also providing opportunities for the parent or student to speak can create a positive and trusting relationship. We must value and take on board any issues they may have even if they are struggling with what they are needing to express. We need to respect that person on every level.
It may be that we are speaking to a parent or carer who is hearing impaired, you will need to make sure you are facing them and giving them eye contact so they can lip read.
Parents and schools may sometimes have different methods of dealing with situations. Whereas the school may request that children do things in a particular way. Parental views may be very different. You may have to work alongside others to explain or clarify why things need to happen in a different way in school by holding an informal meeting.
We have to be attentive and patient towards people with hearing or speech difficultiesif we are not clear enough with our words. Perhaps the adult uses sign language, then a teacher specialised in this area could be called to assist.
Alack of confidence can make some parents or aduts act in an aggressive way. This may come across in a personal way to others, but it is more to do with how they perceive themselves and their own abilities. You may need to be sensitive t this and offer them encouragement and support.
It is essential for us as Teaching staff or Teaching Assistants to be confident, friendly and professional at all times when talking to an adult whatever their degree of difficulty.
2.5 Explain how to manage disagreements with children, young people and adults (300 words approx)
Disagreements with children
Children need to be taught from a young age that it is a normal part of growing up to have occasional disagreements with others. Also to not always get along with everyone.
It is important that we take the time to understand the cause of conflict and listen to what the child is saying, if we do not give time and patience the child can become more angry and upset. We as teachers are responsible for showing them ways to resolve conflict from a young age.
We can express that we have not agreed with the way they have spoken or acted and that an apology is expected, showing a non aggressive manner using simplistic grammar with good eye contact at their level.
A disagreement with a young person can be a slightly tricky situation in some cases as at this age they can believe they are grown up and know everything there is to know about life. However some young people need just as much help as young children.
It is important to keep our own feelings in check and not to get upset or become angry as the young person maybe trying to ignite a reaction from you, perhaps to impress their friends. If we feel a situation is getting out of hand or we feel ourselves getting upset a short break from the situation maybe needed. Perhaps removing the young person from the room and explaining calmly but firmly that we will discuss the issues during the lunch period or after school if appropriate.
If these issues or conflicts cannot be resolved after a discussion then parents may need to be involved to ensure we can all implement the same strategies to help and guide the young person.
A disagreement with an adult can be slightly more unpleasant but we must not allow these disagreements to get to us or we run the risk of creating a bad working environment.
It is important to always remain calm and polite, to listen to the adults point of view and allow ample time to listen even if we strongly disagree with their point of view.
We need to take the conversation to a quiet private space and if during the lesson for instance agree a suitable time and place to discuss the conflict.
To always involve a line manager or Head teacher if the difficulties erupt.
Avoiding personal comments and to seek a mediator if an agreement cannot be made.
If agreements cannot be made, it is helpful to learn how to manage it constructively. First try to informally ask advice from your union or line manager. I this does not resolve the issue go through your work place’s official grievance procedure. The process for resolving disputes in schools is typically;
Talk to your class teacher
Meet with the Head teacher
Talk to the Local Authority
Engage in Mediation
Outcomes 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 – By the end of these outcomes you will understand legislation, policies and procedures for confidentiality and sharing information, including data protection.
3.1 Summarise the main points of legislation and procedures covering confidentiality, data protection and the disclosure of information (400 words approx)
It is important to reassure children, young persons and adults about the confidentiality of shared information and the limits of these. For instance this could be a family break up, a medical condition, or an anxiety issue. For example a child could be at risk of serious harm and those living with them such as siblings if you fail to report a matter of abuse that has been reported to you by the young person. It is vital that this information is reported as soon as possible. Even if the child asks you not to we as care providers have a legal duty to report.
Information such as age, names, telephone numbers and addresses are to be kept completely confidential. Only appropriate people should have access to confidential records except where a young person is at particular risk.
Under the data protection act 1998 all processing of personal information must comply with these principles of good practice.
*Fairly and lawfully processed
*Processed for limited purposes
*Adequate, relevant and not excessive
*Not kept longer than necessary as it may become out of date information
*Processed in accordance with the data subjects rights
*Not transferred to other countries without adequate protection
You must not discuss any information given to you by another member of staff or parent regarding a child or young person. However if you feel a child or young person is at risk you are legally bound to report the information, as you are legally required to for the protection of the child.
Every family has the right to privacy and information should only be passed on in the genuine interests of the child or to safeguard their welfare. Sharing of information should be on a need to know basis only.
The Every Child Matters initiative was launched in 2003 in response to the death of Victoria Climbie. It is one of the most important policy initiative which has been introduced and development programmes in relation to children and children’s services of the last decade.
The Every Child Matters aims are;
*Enjoy and Achieve
*Make a positive contribution
*Achieve economic well-being
Each of these themes has a detailed framework attached, which is required for multi agency partnerships to work together in order to achieve. These will include;
Children’s Centres, Early Years Settings, Children’s Social work services, Primary and Secondary health services, Playwork and The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS)
3.2 Explain the importance of reassuring children, young people and adults of the confidentiality of shared information and the limits of this (250 words approx)
The importance of reassuring children, young people and adults of the confidentiality is giving them the confidence and reassurance that you can confide in them as this builds trust and letting them know that only the people that truly need the information should and will be told in order to protect those involved. It really boils down to a need to know basis. Breaking the trust could lead to them not intrusting you and bottling up possible valuable safeguarding issues.
Limitations that would be necessary to share could be food allergies or other allergies. Any person involved with the child would need to know this information.
Any declarations of abuse or suspicions of abuse or dramatically changed personalities in the young person need to be shared with the line manager and the child protection agency.
3.3 Justify the kinds of situation when confidentiality protocols must be breached (200 words approx)
Situations where confidentiality protocols must be breached are if you suspect child abuse or neglect. If we as Teachers or Teaching Assistants believe a child is at significant harm it is our responsibility not to ignore this and to pass on he information immediately. It is essential not to delay as if this reporting of information gets into the wrong hands i.e. the abuser then the outcomes can be catastrophic.
You may find yourself in a situation where another person confides in you with suspected abuse..If such information has been disclosed then it is important to tell the young person that we cannot withhold this information as it’s a serious matter and we are duty bound to report it, reassuring the young person that are not to blame and they have done the right thing in reporting it.
The basics to breaching protocols are that information cannot be shared without the consent of a parent, young person of over 16 or a child unless one or more of the following happen;
*Where failure to share information may result in harm to the child for example medical condition such as an allergy or mental health issue.
* Where failure to share information may result in serious harm to an adult, ie, medical issues as above
*Where failure to share information may result in a crime being committed.
*Where failure to share information may result in a crime not being detected, including where seeking consent might lead to interference with any potential investigation.
*Where the young person is deemed to have insufficient understanding to withhold consent therefore cannot override the parental consent.
*Where the young person is deemed to have sufficient understanding to override the parental refusal to give consent
*Where there is a statutory duty or Court Order requiring information to be shared.
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Bibliography – Referencing for a Book, Video, Newspaper and Articles or website
Author Name Year of Publication Title of book or website Place of publication or Source Publisher Date Accessed
KAMAD 2001 Teaching Assistant’s Handbook Level 3 London Hodder Education 12th March 2017